Coffee adds zero nutritional value, and the risks it presents to your health make it a very bad choice overall. This is especially true if youâ??re planning a family or are already pregnant or breastfeeding.
That caffeine energy boost is only temporary
If you use coffee as a crutch to get a quick burst of energy, remember that cultivating a healthy body and mind supplies all the power you need to get through your day. The jolt you receive from a cup of coffee is not only temporary, itâ??s also depleting your energy stores in the long term, and very likely wreaking havoc on your body in other ways as well.
Coffee contains no vitamins, minerals, or enzymes
Why has a substance which places an enormous metabolic burden on your body and offers no nutritional value at all – no vitamins, no minerals, no enzymes – become so widely used throughout the world?
Why do we drink coffee?
Many coffee drinkers enjoy the taste. And for those who donâ??t, there are countless addi­tives to mask the flavour – like sweeteners, milk, and chocolate syrup to name just a few. The list of coffee â??enhancersâ? is limited only by your imagination.
The other major reason people drink coffee is for a caffeine boost. Many people swear they canâ??t get going in the morning without a cup of coffee – or several. They feel physically tired and mentally foggy without their morning brew.
Most regular coffee drinkers argue their habit isnâ??t doing them any harm
In fact, theyâ??ll point to reports touting the health benefits of coffee, citing studies that claim regular consumption reduces the risk for heart disease and diabetes, for example. The problem, though, is while coffeeâ??s effect on humans has been extensively re­searched for decades, there is still a great deal of controversy about what it really does to your health.
The results of coffee studies often conflict, which is why you might read an article this week which completely contradicts the advice given in a report you read a month ago.
Researchers canâ??t seem to pinpoint exactly how coffee acts to allegedly reduce the risk of certain diseases, but they suspect it has something to do with the anti-inflammatory properties of the antioxidants in coffee.
Coffee is NOT good for you
The simple fact that remains however is that, coffee is not good for you and itâ??s not a health food, as some published re­ports would have you believe. There are much better, less risky ways to achieve any professed benefits of coffee consumption. Donâ??t use pro-coffee reports or propaganda as an excuse to hang onto your coffee habit!
The truth: coffee can wreck your health
Among the typical health claims about coffee is it decreases the risk of developing cer­tain cancers and diabetes. However, it increases your risk for stomach cancer and leu­kemia. Just like with most drugs, there are perceived benefits – and then there are the side effects which often render the â??cureâ? worse than the disease.
Coffee can also:
* Interfere with your bodyâ??s ability to use water, and promote fluid loss
* Raise your cholesterol
* Send your insulin levels out of control
* Contribute to rheumatoid arthritis and stroke
* Damage your blood vessels
* Increase your risk of heart disease
Coffee interferes with your bodyâ??s ability to use folate, and vitamins B12 and B6. Your body needs these nutrients in order to keep your homocysteine level in the healthy range. Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with a wide range of serious, even life-threatening conditions.
Coffee stimulates your adrenals — the hormones that activate your fight or flight re­sponse. If your adrenal hormones are stimulated too often, which is bound to happen if you are a daily coffee drinker, your adrenal glands may eventually burn out.
When your adrenals no longer function effectively, your body will go in search of a re­placement hormone – which happens to be progesterone.
Progesterone has its own full-time job to do, part of which is to keep your bodyâ??s estro­gen in balance. As your progesterone is used up compensating for your exhausted ad­renals, you run the risk of becoming estrogen dominant. Estrogen dominance can lead to osteoporosis.
Coffee also raises the acidity level of your blood, causing calcium to be pulled from your bones and teeth for use as a buffering agent.
The combination of estrogen dominance and high blood acidity puts you at an even greater risk for osteoporosis. In fact, research has established an undeniable link between coffee consumption and hip fractures.
Coffee as a Pick Me Up? Donâ??t kid yourself!
Fatigue is the number one daily complaint among Americans. Are you using coffee to combat feelings of tiredness and low energy?
Caffeine is a strong stimulant and will deliver a temporary jolt, which may feel like a burst of energy to you.
But the truth is, coffee only gives you the illusion of energy and not the real thing. Over the long-term coffee actually depletes your B vitamin supply, and lack of B vitamins depletes your energy.
If you struggle with fatigue and low energy on a daily basis, your body is telling you itâ??s time to assess your health and lifestyle choices. Drinking coffee is not the answer to chronic feelings of weariness and lack of energy.
Caffeine – coffeeâ??s not so hidden menace
Caffeine is a psychoactive substance able to alter the way your brain functions, bringing about temporary changes in your behaviour and mood.
The more sensitive you are to the drug, the more pronounced its effects. Caffeine intoxication is not an uncommon condition – especially with the high levels of caffeine found in todayâ??s â??energy drinks.â?
My firm position is that caffeine is a very powerful drug and should be avoided or strictly lim­ited.
Symptoms and health hazards of caffeine use can include:
* A rise in blood pressure and stress hormone levels
* Heart palpitations
* A sensation of jitteriness and nervousness
* Symptoms of anxiety, especially if you already have a panic or anxiety disorder
* Depletion of iron and calcium levels in women
Avoid coffee if youâ??re pregnant or planning a family
Pregnant women should avoid caffeine entirely, and if youâ??re a coffee drinker who is planning a pregnancy, youâ??ll want to quit the habit before you conceive.
Studies indicate over 300 mg of caffeine a day, which is the equivalent of two to three eight ounce cups of coffee, may also increase your risk of:
* Miscarriage / spontaneous abortion
* Delivering a low birth weight baby
* Having a child with certain birth defects like cleft palate
Four or more cups of coffee a day may increase your babyâ??s risk of SIDS.
Itâ??s important to realize that any caffeine you ingest passes easily through the placenta to your unborn child. It is also transferred through breast milk, and stays in your body – and the body of your un­born child or infant – longer than average. Your unborn baby has no ability to detoxify the caffeine he or she is exposed to.
Green tea: a much healthier alternative to coffee
If youâ??re looking to kick your coffee habit to improve your health, a cup of high-qual­ity green tea can be a great alternative as a warm, soothing morning beverage.
Green tea vs. black tea
Most types of tea have some health benefits. However, black tea not only contains more caffeine than green tea – itâ??s also high in fluoride.
Lesser brands of green tea can also contain fluoride and other dangerous substances like lead and aluminum, so you must do your research before settling on a particular brand of tea
EGCG: Natureâ??s miracle compound: powerful protection for your body
Green tea contains catechins, which have have been researched for hundreds of years for their health-promoting properties, including their ability to help:
* Improve digestion
* Inhibit bacterial and viral infections
* Neutralize the negative impact of harmful fats and oils on your body
* Protect against oxidation in your brain and liver
* Support healthy gums
The powerful antioxidant properties of EGCG can also help your body fight a number of debilitating conditions like AIDS, Alzheimerâ??s, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.
Green tea polyphenols act on molecular pathways to shut down the production and spread of tumor cells. They also discourage the growth of the blood vessels which feed the tumors.
A sizable body of research also suggests the polyphenols in green tea can help:
* Lower your cholesterol
* Lower your triglyceride levels
* Lower your blood pressure
* Ease painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Obesity and diabetes help
A number of studies show EGCG has a regulatory effect on fat metabolism. It has been shown to improve exercise performance, increase fat oxidation and prevent obesity.
Green tea and your brain
Researchers have also discovered green tea has the potential to enhance the function of your brain.
EGCG appears to decrease the production of the protein beta-amyloid, which can over accumulate in your brain, resulting in nerve damage and memory loss over time — a condition related to Alzheimerâ??s disease.
A Word about caffeine in tea
A study published in 2008 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports the caf­feine in tea contains a natural protein, theanine, which actually counteracts unhealthy side effects.
If you are avoiding tea because of the caffeine, you should know caffeine is much less dangerous to your health than fruit juice or soda, and in small quantities — especially the kind found in tea — should not be reason for concern.
There is one exception: if youâ??re pregnant or breastfeeding you should avoid ALL caffeine, including in tea.
I hope Iâ??ve given you plenty of incentive to quit your coffee addiction once and for all, and replace it with beverages that can improve your health and prevent disease.
Youâ??ll be pleasantly surprised, once you make the change to healthier beverages, how much better and genuinely energetic you feel.
About Dr. Mercola
Dr. Mercola founded one of the most visited health sites on the Internet, mercola.com and has a practice, the Optimal Wellness Center, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. For more information visit www.mercola.com
While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.